TODAY -

Where opportunity for horse trading terminated so curtly

SK Singh *



The recent Assembly Elections in Karnataka can be classified as a unique exercise hardly seen in electoral politics in the country. The 12 May elections resulted to a hung assembly where no single party won absolute majority mark of 112 members to form government on its own.

In the elections for 222 seats the BJP bagged 103, Congress 78, JDS 37 with others 4. The second largest vote getter Congress who became wiser from their bitter experiences in government formations in Manipur, Goa, Bihar and Meghalaya was quick to tie up with JDS to form government in Karnataka.

The two together at 115 was eligible to claim majority and staked claim and the duo in this juggling acted not wisely rather cunningly only to outdo the BJP. The proverbial ‘jackal’ full of cunning maneuvers was the idol of the Congress-JDS combined.

In politics however, different yardsticks are adopted to claim majority to form government by constitutional authorities. In states like Meghalaya, Bihar, Manipur and Goa the single largest parties were not, I repeat, not invited by the authorities that might be, to form government.

Things were not same in Karnataka. Despite the Congress and JDS combined claiming majority at 115, the Governor was conspicuous by his wisdom or could it be more appropriate to term it as kind of a ‘vested interest’, to invite the BJP for swearing in with a unique rider.

He allowed a grace period of 15 days when the BJP should face floor test in the Assembly. Are all these in order; we have the same Constitution, same constitutional authorities in the persons of the Governors. And yet, varying yardsticks! Can these be categorized as ‘ethical’?

Of course, 15 days are torturously long span of time for exercising the well-known methodology, “Horse-trading”, for wooing elected members to turn sides to attempt forming majority. The expected methodology to be adopted by the BJP could be either of the followings: -

i) lure MLAs of either JD(S) or Congress by whatever commitments like, a ministerial berth or a few crores of rupees or the like.

ii) lure the entire dissidents of either parties, (an attribute any political party necessarily possesses), Congress or JD(S) with a handsome reward of a couple of ministerial positions plus lavish amounts of money. Are these practices again legal or at the least ethical? Certainly not.

Pavan K Varma a former member of the IFS and now an MP of the JD(U) was reportedly in a TV Panel discussion following the Karnataka elections. He reports, “BJD leader Ram Madhav was also present. To a question on how BJP would make up for its lack of majority, Ram Madhav made a candid but revealing comment.

‘Don’t worry’, he said, ‘We have Amit Shah’.” What arms does the great Amit Shah possess; one doesn’t wait even for a reply. The answer is easily ‘Horse trading’. In more ornamental language the saying would run like, the BJP has formidable organizational strength and would succeed in securing majority given a long rope of 15 days.

What a coincidence God has created in Karnataka? The Governor a former RSS activist and a former minister in the Modi-government in Gujarat was appointed by the Centre which implied that apart from being competent to hold this prestigious position of Governor of a state, which attribute quite a few may possess at any point of time, he or she should be ‘politically suitable’ from the point of view of the Central Government.

In his pro-active activism for the cause of the BJP and true to his color, he lost no time in swearing in BS.Yeddyurappa of the BJP as CM.

More notoriously unethical could be his decision to give a long rope of half a month to the BJP for proving majority. Why a long span of 15 days, what is this magic number ‘15’? Against this governor’s 15 days for sprucing up its strength from 103 to anything above 112, the Apex Court granted just two days from the day of swearing in; practically one day from the Day of Judgment for the floor test.

The Supreme Court fixed 4 PM of the day of delivering the classic judgment, a solid 13 days before the date hatched by the Governor. How does one see the two totally divergent orders? One gave a lavish 15 days while the other just a measly one day. Both cannot and should not exist. Of course, the orders of the Supreme Court as understandable prevailed.

The moot question is how a Constitutional authority of the dignity of a Governor of a state could make such a derogatory order which could be rated as only as totally biased?

More importantly should not the Governor choose to seek his resignation in utter disgrace for this act of utter callousness and soft corruption which got instant reprimand from the Supreme Court? Any sensible and self respecting person wouldn’t have any other choice.

Or possibly even, why not the Central Government pull out the Governor to save the sanctity of the position of Governor of a state?

Neither of these ethical actions was considered appropriate by the Centre; the diction says of course that these unethical acts could be left untouched as sooner than later they would be forgotten as human memories are short any way.


* SK Singh wrote this article for e-pao.net
The writer can be contacted at kunjabiharis(AT)rediffmail(DOT)com
This article was posted on June 01, 2018.


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